Week of July 19 Evening News Ratings: ABC World News Tonight Holds Steady at No. 1, But NBC Nightly News Gains Some Ground

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir finished the week of July 19 by averaging 7.70 million total viewers and 1.41 million adults 25-54. Those figures mean ABC’s evening newscast has officially delivered a larger average audience than its NBC and CBS evening news counterparts, both in total viewers and in the key A25-54 demo, for 69 consecutive weeks.

Compared with the previous week (week of July 12), World News Tonight held steady in total viewers and in the key A25-54 demo. Compared to the year-ago week, however, ABC’s evening newscast shed -13% of its average total audience, and -18% of its A25-54 demo audience.

On Tuesday, World News Tonight was retitled to due to ABC’s live telecast of Game 6 of the NBA Finals.  The retitled telecast is excluded from the weekly and season averages. As a result, World News Tonight’s weekly averages are based on 4 days.


World News Tonight currently holds its largest season lead over both NBC and CBS in 26 years—since the 1994-1995 season, when Peter Jennings was still anchor.

Speaking of NBC, Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 6.17 million total viewers and 1.06 million adults 25-54 on linear last week, making it the 5th-most-watched show on TV (excluding sports and syndication).

Sunday’s broadcast of NBC Nightly News (July 25) was the most-watched broadcast on all of TV for the week, excluding sports and syndication. Holt anchored special editions of the weekend newscasts live from Tokyo.

Compared to the prior week, NBC’s evening newscast gained +2% in average total viewers, but shed -7% adults 25-54. However, relative to the same week in 2020, Nightly shed -18% in total viewers, and -30% of its A25-54 audience.

On the positive side, Nightly News A25-54 ratings should receive a bump these next couple of weeks from NBC Olympics coverage, and its conceivable the newscast breaks World News Tonight’s 69-week-long winning streak in the measurement next week.

NBC Nightly News was retitled on Friday, July 23 due to NBC’s broadcast of the opening ceremony. As a result, Nightly News’ ratings for last week are based on just 4 days.

Additionally, on YouTube, weekday episodes of Nightly News saw an average of 685,000 viewers. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals, and the YouTube Analytics Portal.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 4.69 million total viewers, and 855,000 adults 25-54 for the week. That’s a -1% loss in total viewers, but a gain of +6% in adults 25-54 from the prior week.  As was true for its competition, CBS Evening News lost viewers from the year ago week: -12% in total viewers and -8% in A25-54.

CBS Evening News was the most-watched show on the network last week, but once again declined to rate its Friday broadcast.

Below, the Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of July 19, 2021:

• Total Viewers: 7,703,000 6,167,000 4,691,000
• A25-54: 1,409,000 1,056,000 855,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54; Live + SD Current Week (w/o 7/19/21), Previous Week (w/o 7/12/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 7/20/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20-7/25/21) and 2019-2020 Season (9/23/13-7/26/20). Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Beginning 8/31/20, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.